Re: Luke 9:58

Carl W. Conrad (
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 16:25:08 -0500

At 9:51 PM -0500 9/4/96, Nikos Sarantakos wrote:
>Dear all,
>Luke 9:58 concludes:
>This POU THN KEFALHN KLINHi is the subject of my query: I would
>expect it to be rather THN KEFALHN KLINAI, with an infinitive instead
>of a subjunctive. Indeed, Modern Greek, where this has become a
>proverbial phrase, uses the infinitive: DEN EXEI POU THN KEFALHN
>Not having studied NT Greek, I wonder whether this use of the
>subjunctive is a particularity, whether there are more examples in
>the NT -or perhaps it is a commonplace phenomenon and I should have
>known better?

Ah, but in general, doesn't Modern Greek use the subjunctive FOR the
infinitive? e.g. QA DW ("I shall see"; lit. "I want to see") <-- Koine QELW

The POU clause is interesting; I guess I've never thought about it because
it doesn't seem problematic. Others should beble to say whether it is
commonplace in the NT and whether there are other examples; offhand I would
doubt it. Classical Attic would have an indicative for an indirect question
in primary sequence: OUX EXEI hOPOU THN KEFALHN KLINEI--but in fact, this
is more deliberative or dependent upon a deliberative construction: "Where
is he to lay his head?" "He does not have (a place) where he may lay his
head." So it's not really a straight indirect question in standard Greek.
Ironically, however, the Latin indirect question does appear to be
constructed on the basis of the deliberative subjunctive: NON HABET UBI
CAPUT DEPONAT. Which raises an interesting (to me, at least) question:
there have, I know, been investigations of Latin vocabulary in the GNT, as
in Mark's gospel; does anyone know whether there's been a study of
_Latinisms_ in Koine Greek?

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR